Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice in Health Professions Education: Reflecting on Evidence to Create Strategies for the Future

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Join us in discussing our literature review of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in health professions education. We will share relevant resources, then have an interactive discussion about evidence-based strategies that address barriers to equity and how to engage students in online learning relevant to this topic.


Norine Masella, MS, RN, CNE is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and Allied Health at SUNY Empire State College. She teaches online courses in graduate nursing and in the BS in Allied Health programs. Norine has been teaching students in health professions for over 30 years in both traditional and online programs. She holds a Master of Science degree with specialization as a Parent-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is a certified nurse educator (CNE) through the NLN Academic Nurse Educator Certification Program and is pursuing doctoral studies at the University at Buffalo in the PhD in Nursing program. With expertise in pediatric critical care, pediatric discharge planning, maternal-child public health, and pediatric home care, Norine has significant clinical experience to bring to education. She is experienced with the use of simulation in health care education. She has provided many educational sessions, including Physical Assessment of the Adolescent for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services for RNs around the state, and pediatric content lectures as a visiting faculty. She is an approved provider for the New York State Curriculum in the recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Norine has also worked in competency-based nursing education. She has experience in the accreditation process, chairing the committees responsible for systematic program evaluation and self-study process in two AD nursing programs. Norine is currently the counselor from Empire State College for the Tau Kappa at-Large chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and was the recipient of their Excellence in Education Award in 2019.
I am an Academic Advisor, Mentor, and Instructor with SUNY Empire State College. I enjoy working with online students in many different ways, throughout the process of achieving their academic and professional goals. My background is in healthcare and teaching at the community college level. I hold several certifications in Allied Health professions, including RT(R) with ARRT, and CCS-P with AHIMA. I have trained employees and mentored students and colleagues throughout my career. I completed my Masters degree in Teaching and Curriculum with a concentration in Health Professions Education at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. My studies included courses in online teaching and learning. I especially enjoy working with students as they navigate the unique challenges and opportunities that exist for online learners.

Extended Abstract

Learning outcomes:

  • Identify relevant sources related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice (DEISJ) in health professions education
  • Identify factors that affect learning about DEISJ
  • Describe support and resources appropriate for students with raced, classed, or gendered experiences, accessibility issues, or other potential barriers to student success
  • Collaborate in providing several online educational activities that may be useful to other educators in promoting student engagement

There are many human differences, including race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, political and religious beliefs, age, social class, sexual orientation, language, and physical and cognitive abilities, among others. Although education around diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice has become common, societies still struggle with treating all individuals justly. It is especially important to ensure health professionals respect all persons, yet evidence shows microaggressions, implicit bias, and systemic racism are prevalent in health care settings.

How do we move from discrimination to acceptance? What strategies will best address the challenges, and how can we ensure students understand the importance of implementing these strategies?

In this discovery session, we will provide key resources from our literature review that can serve as a starting point for reflection on current best practices for engaging students in meaningful dialogue about issues related to DEISJ and equity in education. We will identify challenges students face in the online environment and propose educational strategies to improve the student experience. We will elucidate on best practices and lessons learned from an academic advising/mentoring perspective relevant to effectively supporting student success and retention. One source of support we will explore is each individual student’s relationship with their academic advisor or mentor. We hope to collaborate with others to identify more opportunities for student engagement. Educating and supporting our students with a focus on the many aspects of DEISJ can result in a better future.